Christina and Josh Hall are dedicated to turning their current California abode into a forever home. After creating a spa sanctuary in their backyard, the couple embarked on another personal project: a kitchen renovation.
“The first time we walked this house, I knew in my head, like, this kitchen is not staying,” Christina said during an episode of Christina on the Coast.
She explained that the kitchen—which has stark white cabinetry and a long island with a raised bar—doesn’t fit her style. “The whole kitchen just kind of looks like one big robot,” she said. “It’s a little bit too modern and kinda harsh. I would love something a little more natural feeling, a little more organic.”
Josh agreed the kitchen needed to be softened up, so the whole thing had to go. But more than that, the couple’s kitchen lacked functionality. Christina pointed out that the dishwasher in the island always pops open when she tries to prepare food. All of the upper horizontal cabinetry features a hydraulic lift-up system, meaning their contents wouldn't be accessible if the electricity ever went out. Not to mention, they're too shallow to fit plates. The higher cabinets aren't practical for everyday use. Plus, the range only has one working burner.
After deciding to renovate, Josh created a visual of what their desired new kitchen could look like. Using tape, he mapped out what he knew Christina wanted: floating shelves flanking a hood vent, a shorter hood than their current one, a slide-in range, and a shorter island that’s wider and has waterfall edges. (Unlike Christina's previous project, they did not opt for a T-shaped kitchen island.) The couple also decided to add a bar with wine fridges in the open-concept kitchen. “We are not gonna move again, so we might as well have a kitchen that looks beautiful and actually makes sense,” Christina said.
When they met with their contractor Josh Marquad, the couple was given a quote of $60,000 to $70,000 for the renovation, excluding the cost of appliances and the demo (because one of Christina’s friends wanted to take their existing cabinets to use for another home project).
As far as materials go, Christina and Josh originally compromised on a mix for their custom cabinetry. They initially chose white oak cabinets and white oak floating shelving with black cabinets under the island. But during the latest episode of the show, Christina changed her mind about the cabinets. "This has kind of been keeping me up at night," she told Josh. "I feel like the white oak is not going to look right in here. There's too much wood color going on, and I feel like what could look really amazing is black."
They stuck with the white oak floating shelves and white counters with gray veining to make up the kitchen countersplash. The final design also includes black appliances and a pair of concrete pendant lights, which are 250 pounds each.
The one other issue that came up centered on the trash cans. The pull-out cabinet built into the island was smaller than Christina expected. "Trash is a really big deal to me," Christina told Josh. "You see how much trash we go through."
She added that in a resale mindset, small trash cans are not good. Josh responded, "How many people go check the size of the trash can when they’re buying a house?"
Christina confirmed that large trash cans are an important factor she looks for when buying a house. To solve the issue, they decided to remove a drawer above the trash cans to allow for taller ones to be put in.
Once everything was complete, they admired their work. "Josh and I had so much fun doing this project together," Christina said. "And our styles actually aligned, so that always makes it easier."
To break in their new kitchen, Christina and Josh gathered the family to make homemade pizza. When Christina asked her kids if they liked the kitchen, her daughter Taylor admitted, "You are a pretty good designer."
Christina was shocked to hear the compliment, which her son Brayden agreed with. Josh then added that Christina "isn't just good, she's the best!"
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